University of Toronto
121 St. George Street
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2017||Vulnerability and Clientelism|
with Gustavo J. Bobonis, Paul Gertler, Simeon Nichter: w23589
Political clientelism is often deemed to undermine democratic accountability and representation. This study argues that economic vulnerability causes citizens to participate in clientelism. We test this hypothesis with a randomized control trial that reduced household vulnerability through a development intervention: constructing residential water cisterns in drought-prone areas of Northeast Brazil. This exogenous reduction in vulnerability significantly decreased requests for private benefits from local politicians, especially by citizens likely to be involved in clientelist relationships. We also link program beneficiaries to granular voting outcomes, and show that this reduction in vulnerability decreased votes for incumbent mayors, who typically have more resources to engage in cliente...
|May 2015||Retail Globalization and Household Welfare: Evidence from Mexico|
with David Atkin, Benjamin Faber: w21176
The arrival of global retail chains in developing countries is causing a radical transformation in the way that households source their consumption. This paper draws on a new collection of Mexican microdata to estimate the effect of foreign supermarket entry on household welfare. The richness of the microdata allows us to estimate a general expression for the gains from retail FDI, and to decompose these gains into several distinct channels. We find that foreign retail entry causes large and significant welfare gains for the average household that are mainly driven by a reduction in the cost of living. About one quarter of this price index effect is due to pro-competitive effects on the prices charged by domestic stores, with the remaining three quarters due to the direct consumer gains fr...
|February 2013||Do Information Technologies Improve Teenagers’ Sexual Education? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Colombia|
with Alberto Chong, Dean Karlan, Martin Valdivia: w18776
Across public junior high schools in 21 Colombian cities, we conducted a randomized evaluation of a mandatory six-month internet-based sexual education course. Six months after finishing the course, we find a 0.4 standard deviation improvement in knowledge, a 0.2 standard deviation improvement in attitudes, and a 55% increase in the likelihood of redeeming vouchers for condoms as a result of taking the course. We find no evidence of spillovers to control classrooms within treatment schools, and we find treatment effects are enhanced when a larger share of a student’s friends also takes the course. The low cost of the online course along with the effectiveness we document suggests this technology is a viable alternative for improving sexual education in middle income countries.